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Philosophy of Art and Literature - PHL250

What is the relationship between philosophy, art, and literature? What can paintings, music, novels, and poems tell us about perception, emotion, language, and meaning? Can art and literature do philosophy?

The unit examines some of the classic problems in the philosophy of art (aesthetics), as well as contemporary theories of art, culture, cognition, and emotion. We investigate the nature of art and explore how our experience of art and literature offer a way of understanding the self and broadening our cognitive engagement with the world. We begin with the core problems of beauty and pleasure, examining whether aesthetic judgments about art are merely subjective or in some sense objective. We consider the nature of aesthetic experience, exploring how art engages our perception, emotion, imagination, and cognition. We explore how literary texts can stage complex philosophical thought experiments or explore ethical problems or moral questions in depth and detail.

Finally, we consider the idea that art and literature can explore philosophical issues in their own right and exercise our moral imagination in complex ways. These philosophical theories will be examined in conjunction with a discussion of contemporary works in a variety of media from painting and music to novels and poetry.

Credit Points: 3
When Offered:

S2 Day - Session 2, North Ryde, Day

S2 External - Session 2, External (On-campus dates: None)

Staff Contact(s): Dr Michael Olson

(12cp at 100 level or above) or admission to GDipArts Prerequisite Information


NCCW(s): PHIL250
Unit Designation(s):
Unit Type:
Assessed As: Graded
Offered By:

Department of Philosophy

Faculty of Arts

Course structures, including unit offerings, are subject to change.
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